I find documentaries to be just as captivating as an action packed or drama filled film on the big screen. It is what reality television was supposed to be, without a bulldog of a producer standing off camera ordering the subject what to say and how to respond, daring the talent to do otherwise. A documentary displays what is real in that moment, however raw, gritty, or ugly the situation might be. Making A Murderer has to be one of the most heart wrenching documentaries I have seen since the Spike Lee production of Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke. Sitting on the edge of my seat at home from beginning to end, I found myself wanting to take action to get involved to help in any way I can.
In scrolling through my Newsfeed on Facebook, I kept coming across this image of a Caucasian male with a crack down the middle of his face. One side of his face he was a young boy with angelic crystal, clear blue eyes that warmed your heart. The other side of the crack is the same person, but it appeared life had definitely happened to the precious young boy over the years. Looking weathered and dangerous, the image of Steven Avery intrigued millions enough to log into their Netflix accounts to see what happened to this mysterious face. Based on the title and the photo, many thought they had the story all figured out. It would appear that a young boy went astray and was turned into a murderer. Watch the documentary because what happened to Avery will have you either in tears or throwing something at the screen in anger.
Avery's story is not uncommon in the Black and Latino community. Regardless of color, to see an innocent man locked up for a crime he did not commit, serving many, many years losing precious time with his children and his family that he can never get back, a person would have to be inhuman to not feel for this man. Avery served 18 years in a Wisconsin prison for a rape he could not have possibly committed. Coming from a family that was considered outcasts in their community, uneducated junk yard owners, Avery was targeted simply for his status in society. A well to-do woman, Penny Beernsten, in the same community was raped on a beach. While this crime was taking place, Avery was picking his wife and newborn baby up from the hospital. Witnesses verified his alibi along with receipts from stops he had made before arriving home confirmed Avery's whereabouts in the late afternoon, early evening of the rape. The rape victim described her attacker and the police handling the case said it sounded like Avery who had one arrest when he was teenager for theft. With blurred vision, Beernsten was influenced by police officers with prejudice against the Avery family to identify Avery as her attacker. Investigators disregarded Avery's proof of his whereabouts and also ignored tips of the man who committed the rape.
Eighteen years later, with the help of advanced DNA testing, Avery was found innocent and the guilty suspect was captured. Avery, of course, planned to sue the county for $36 million for wrongful imprisonment. Two years later, before Avery could collect the $36 million that he so rightfully deserved, authorities showed up at his door with a search warrant of a missing girl Teresa Halbach. Avery, clueless as to what they were talking about, cooperated and allowed the place to search his property for eight days straight. For eight days he was not allowed back into his own home. After the search was completed, Avery was arrested for the murder of Halbach. Evidence, from the woman's truck, keys, to her blood, mysteriously appeared on his property. Avery had met the woman days prior to her being reported missing. She had come out to take photo so of a truck he was selling. Avery stated the young woman took the photos and he saw her drive away.
The police tried to get Avery's new girlfriend to say she knew Avery had murdered the young woman. They could not get her to break down. Then they went after his mentally disabled nephew Brendan Dassey. The documentary shows the interrogation of Dassey who played right into their hands. Convincing Dassey that he helped his uncle Avery rape and murder Halbach. Avery's defense laid out plenty of evidence proving their client had been set up. The court, again, disregarded the evidence that would set Avery and his nephew free. Avery, now serving life for a crime he did not commit. His teenage nephew Dassey is serving 40 years.
Wishing this was a movie with a victorious ending, the documentary is a cold, harsh reminder of life. I do not know if Avery is possibly paying some karmic debt from a past life or what. I cannot explain any other kind of way how something so unjust and inhuman can happen to one man twice in one lifetime. He has spent majority of his life in prison for crimes he did not commit. The Supreme Court will not allow him anymore appeals. Making A Murderer has reached millions who now know the truth. As petitions are being shared online to free Avery, unfortunately the outpour of signatures cannot help bring justice Avery. It does, however, shine a spotlight on the corrupt attorneys, police officers, and the judges that worked to together to destroy this man's life and family simply because Avery came from poverty and a family that stayed to themselves. Now we see why.
Making A Murderer is a must see...